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Sarah Everard: Metropolitan Police to appeal against ruling rights of vigil organizers were breached

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The Metropolitan Police have said they will appeal a High Court ruling that it infringed the rights of the organizers of a vigil for Sarah Everard.

The founders of Reclaim These Streets (RTS) have filed a legal challenge against the force for its handling of the event planned to take place near where the murdered 33 year old disappeared in Clapham, south London, last March.

They withdrew from organizing the vigil after being told by the force they would face fines of £10,000 each and the threat of prosecution if they continued, given coronavirus-related restrictions in place at the time.

Instead, a spontaneous meeting and protest took place and the police were criticized for their actions after the officers handcuffed the women and led them away.

In a ruling earlier this monthtwo senior judges found that the Met’s decisions in the run-up to the planned event were “not in accordance with the law”.

Scotland Yard he has said he “took time to consider” the ruling and wants to “work out what the law requires by policing protests and events.”

But London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he was “extremely concerned” about the decision to appeal and would raise it with the outgoing Met commissioner. mrs cressida dick.

“The kidnapping and murder of Sarah Everard by a serving police officer has greatly damaged the trust of Londoners, particularly women and girls, in the police,” said a spokesman for Khan.

“In the wake of such a horrendous crime, the vigil surveillance in his memory further eroded trust,” it added.

A statement from the Met said: “It is absolutely right that we are held accountable for our actions and that there is proper scrutiny of the decisions we make as a police force to uphold legislation and maintain public order.”

“We also respect Reclaim These Streets’ strong views in defense of human rights and public protest, and their pursuit of justice for these views.

“As an organisation, we work for, support and monitor hundreds of protests and events in London every day and we take our responsibilities under Human Rights Law in doing so very seriously.

“It is important to the police and the public that we are absolutely clear about what is expected of us by law.

“That is why we feel we should seek permission to appeal the sentence in order to resolve what the law requires in monitoring future protests and events.”

Read more:
One year after Sarah Everard’s murder, are women safer?
How Sarah Everard’s killer was caught
The controversies that the Met Police Commissioner presided over

RTS co-founder Jamie Klingler was among those who expressed anger at the announcement, accusing the force of wanting to “wear us out.”

“I’m not going to pretend I’m not mad,” she tweeted.

Activist Patsy Stevenson, who was pictured being held at the vigil in a widely shared photograph, tweeted: “They still can’t be held accountable.”

Ms. Klingler, along with Jessica Leigh, Anna Birley and Henna Shah, argued that the decisions made by force prior to the planned vigil amounted to a violation of their human rights to freedom of expression and assembly, saying that the force did not assess the potential risk to public health.

Upholding her claim, the High Court found that the Met had “failed in its statutory duty” to consider whether the women might have a reasonable excuse to hold the meeting.

Ms. Everard was killed by Met officer Wayne Couzens, 49, who was given a whole life sentence at the Old Bailey in September.

This week Couzens what charged with four counts of indecent exposure which allegedly took place in the weeks before he killed Sarah Everard.


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